As the dust settles from Saturday’s state individual district tournaments, as many as 33 wrestlers qualified for the next round, the regionals, which will be next Saturday.
The Carson City-Crystal Eagles, wrestling out of the 27-4 Hesperia district, saw 10 wrestlers qualify, which is the most among the area schools, followed by Greenville, which had eight qualify.
Belding had six qualify while Tri County and Montabella each had four wrestlers who finished fourth or better to qualify for regionals. Central Montcalm finished with two qualifiers and Lakeview with one.
Coach Kacy Datema and his Eagles team improved on last year’s individual regional qualifiers, getting twice as many this year, with four of his players earning a district title:
• Jamison Ward (103-pound division), a freshman, pinned Hart’s Robbie Altland in 3:01
• Daryn Shepler (119), won automatically as his finals opponent, Montabella’s Ethan Crawford, suffered a shoulder injury and could not compete
• Braxton Sieda (140) beat Hesperia’s Zach Young 6-4
• Daniel Smith (171) beat Hart’s Jacob Hoebeke 6-1
Placing second were Spencer Shook (152), who lost to No. 1 seed Gerrit Yates of Hesperia by pin at 2:19, while Bryan Yeakey (189) was pinned by No. 1 seed Ernie Diaz of St. Louis in 4:31.
Seth Seida (285) and Nolan Datema (103) each took third place while Aide Adkins (125) and Connor Datema took fourth (189) in the respective weight divisions.
“I was happy to get 10 through. I wanted one or two more through, but we had some tough weights,” Datema said. “It was a good day for us.”
Ward, the youngest district champion on the team, has made a splash with the Eagles this season, going 48-2 so far.
The freshman knew the strategy his district finals opponent, Altland, was going to use against him.
“I was just focusing on attacking him because I knew he was quick and would go after me,” Ward said. “In the second period, he took a low single shot and got to legs but I wizarded (defended an attack to the legs) and got out of it.”
With team regionals coming up Wednesday, Ward said his mind is now focused on the team but will then be back to focusing on his individual regionals for Saturday.
“I was just really happy to get as many kids as we could and pull out a win myself,” he said.
Datema said Ward is one of his toughest wrestlers in the lineup.
“He’s wrestled some of the best kids in the state. He’s only gotten five or six matches he hasn’t pinned,” Datema said of Ward. “He’s a strong kid, all around great kid.”
Datema was also impressed with Seida, who came back to wrestling this year after recovering from an injury.
“Our district was really tough. We have a lot of good teams,” Datema said. “So we doubled up at 189 with Yeakey (ranked in state) and Conner (was 215 most of year), and he ended up coming through. This last month, he’s been great in the lineup and it’s nice to see him peaking well now.”
Datema said he believes he’ll have good numbers qualifying after regionals, as well.
“A lot of our sophomores lost in the blood round last year, so they’re coming out hungry,” he said.
Fresh from their 12th team district win, the Greenville Yellow Jackets carried that momentum into the individual district tournament, getting two first place finishers, one third-place finisher and four fourth-place finishers.
Stephen Hilliker, who, in the team districts, earned his 150 career win, pinned Forest Hills Eastern’s Ryan Roth at 1:44 to earn the 125-pound district title, while teammate Tren Bartrum took a 10-3 win over Sparta’s Luke Aune to win the 130-pound title.
“Stephan has been pretty good all year long,” Greenville coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s been real focused and he’s a hard worker.”
Johnson said Bartrum, ranked sixth in the state at his weight, has also been looking good at the right time.
“He had a really difficult weight class,” Johnson said. “He beat Aune who was ranked eighth, and also beat a good kid from Fremont.”
Freshman Anthony Goodfellow was another stellar performer for the Yellow Jackets, getting a fourth-place finish.
“He was seeded 10th and, in the first round, beat a No. 7 seed and then, in the second round, he beat the No. 2 seed. He then got beat by the third seeded wrestler but was able to work a win past the fourth seed to place fourth overall,” Johnson said. “He’s become much more of a coachable wrestler. He’s been listening to what we are coaching him and I’ve been pleased with his effort.”
Dren Bartrum finished third in the 152-pound category while other fourth-place finishers for Greenville were D’Andre Sage (125), Matt Jeffrey (135), Eli Kunkle (145) and Tyler Lee (160).
Greenville’s regional qualifiers will play this Saturday at Byron Center.
The Redskins had two players win a district title in their respective weight division, two wrestlers who finished third and one in fourth on Saturday in the District 23-3 tournament in Belding.
JayCee Frisbie (215) earned his district title with a 16-9 win over Comstock Park’s Joe Nagle, while Ward beat Kelloggsville’s Connor Moore 4-3 to earn his district title.
Chase Robinson (160) became a member of the 100-career win club Saturday with his 3-2 win over Grant’s Jacob Brandow, while Tyler Smith (140) pinned Grant’s Brandon Sanders in 46 seconds to clinch third place.
Rounding out the qualifiers was Ray Lofton, who finished fourth in the 152-pound division.
“Overall, it was a good day for us,” Belding coach Art Ward said. “I thought we wrestled really well. Comparing our districts with other districts results, to me, it looks like we have a good shot to get to the state tournament next week.”
Frisbie, a senior, had mixed emotions going into Saturday’s event, knowing this was his last time competing in such a situation.
“It was exciting but I was also upset that this is my last district tournament,” he said. “But I’m happy with my performance.”
Frisbie, who is 38-4 this year, said his district finals opponent, Nagle, has been a friend of his since they were 10 years old, but ever since falling short of the state finals last year, a fire has been lit to qualify this year.
“I know i have to go out there and be mentally tough and work hard,” he said. “When I step out on the mat, I don’t feel nervous at all. It’s more a sense of pride to represent my team and my school.”
While he expected Frisbie to win his division, saying he played well off his back, Ward said Robinson was really impressive with his power and energy.
“He has this burst of strength, he’s fast and he’s strong,” Ward said of Robinson. “All year long, he always has a smile on his face, whether he’s feeling good or not. As soon as he hits the mat, he goes hard. That’s his attitude.”
Ward was happy to see his son take care of business, as well.
“That was the third time Mitchell faced Moore and I told him before the match, the goal is to win the score, whether it be just by one or 100,” Art Ward said. “(Saturday), he was on the offensive the entire match, which is great, because whenever you look to win, it makes it easier than to just try to defend a lead.”
Belding’s regional qualifiers will head to Delton-Kellogg High School next Saturday.
The Tri County Vikings got three individual district champions and one runner-up at the District 23-3 Belding tournament Saturday.
Dakota Greer (119) kept his stellar season going, beating Central Montcalm’s Jordan Scofield 20-6 in the finals. Lucas Prater took home the 285 title with a pin against Kelloggsville’s Benjamin Garcia at 1:11, while Tanner Astrauskas beat Whitehall’s Mitchell White in a close 3-2 decision.
Ben Behrenwald finished second after losing a close 3-2 decision against Whitehall’s Allen Powers in the 145 division.
The Vikings’ regional qualifiers will head to Delton-Kellogg High School next Saturday.
Montabella Mustangs got one second place finish, one third place finish and two fourth place finishes at the District 27-4 Hesperia tournament.
Ethan Crawford made it to the 119 district finals against Carson City-Crystal’s Daryn Shepler but had to forfeit due to a shoulder injury.
In the 140, David Shattuck earned third place after losing to Ravenna’s Devon Forner the first time around but then beating him 10-2 in the consolation round.
Carson Dalrymmple (112) and Caden Woolworth (171) rounded out the Vikings’ qualifiers each finishing fourth in their respective weight division.
Montabella’s qualifiers head to Kent City for state individual regionals Saturday.
Jordan Scofield earned second place in the 119 division, losing to Tri County’s Dakota Greer in the finals 20-6, while Jacob Wright finished fourth in the 135 division.
The Green Hornets’ two regional representatives will head to Delton-Kellogg High School in Delton Saturday.
Curtis Perry will be the sole representative for the Lakeview Wildcats in the state individual regionals, earning a district title in the 103-pound division with a 7-0 decision over Whitehall’s Same Baustert.
Perry will follow qualifiers from Belding, Tri County and Central Montcalm to Delton-Kellogg High School to compete in the regionals on Saturday.